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What is Social Psychology

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What is social psychology

We clarify what social psychology is.

Once we collect details about the teachings and theories that the so-called Social Psychology has been offering for many years, we can understand that this may be a self-discipline that began to be recognized and developed as such at the beginning of the 20th century. In the USA.

What is social psychology?

You could have seen your habits change depending on the company or the context in which you end up. It is not the same if you end up among the many speakers or the bosses as if you end up among your family and friends. These modifications are exactly what social psychology investigates.

Understanding these variations has a striking impression in the world of work, school, traditional and political, since as soon as the elements that give rise to these behaviors are identified, they are often modified, eradicated or intensified to improve the connection between teams of individuals.

Social psychology also analyzes the norms and ideas that form coexistence between people.

Social psychology: definition

Social psychology is a psychology department that analyzes the psychological processes that affect the functioning of a society, as well as the best way in which social interactions occur. In short, it is social processes that form the character and traits of each individual person.

Social psychology can also be typically described as the science that investigates social phenomena, trying to unravel the legal guidelines and ideas that govern coexistence between people. Thus, this department of psychology is in charge of investigating totally different social organizations, trying to extract the patterns of habits of the individuals that make up the group, their roles and the set of conditions that modulate their habits.

What precisely is social psychology discovering?

The research topic of social psychology is, as we have said now, the effect of social relationships on the habits and psychological states of individuals. To this end, one of the many key theories of this self-discipline is that of symbolic interactionism. Considered one of his predecessors, George H. Mead, he developed an in-depth investigation of language, gestures and habits, as a commodity of the interpersonal relationships that allow group life and, in particular, their private face-to-face interactions. .

Clearly, in our societies there are organizations and establishments configured around certain sociocultural circumstances that are the product of the interaction between individuals. However, it is not problematic to think that there is a collective consciousness that facilitates our understanding of these social articulations.

Due to this fact, social psychology investigates observable psychological and social processes, which helps us to perceive how people act once we are part of teams or societies. Social psychology also encompasses the investigation of non-public attitudes and (two-way) affect with social consideration.

And at the end of the day, another ingredient that is taken into consideration is the historical context in which psychological occasions occur, since habits at all times occur on a sequence of tissues and symbolic precedents that affect what we do.

Psychology faculties impressed by social psychology

Since social psychology is a really broad sub-discipline that addresses a number of interaction processes between the person and society, it is not surprising that many psychology schools have based much of their teachings and developments primarily on this.

For example, we are able to discover totally different approaches in psychoanalysis, behaviorism, postmodern psychology and group psychology:


Psychoanalysis, whose most important consultant is Sigmund Freud, is probably one of the most conventional faculties. Makes use of certain ideas from social psychology as a self-discipline that investigates collective impulses and repressions, which arise from the unconscious of each person in particular and then affect the collective and social situation.

However, it should be noted that psychoanalysis will not be part of social psychology and is not primarily based on the epistemology of scientific psychology in general.


However, behaviorism conceives of social psychology insofar as it offers us knowledge about social affect. Behaviorism focuses on comment and evaluation of particular behaviors of a person considering the effect of the social and cultural environment.


Postmodern psychology attempts to investigate the climate that affects the diversification and fragmentation of society.


From the point of view of group psychology, every group forms a unit of study with its explicit personal idiosyncrasy. Since then, social psychology tries to carry out a balanced investigation between the social and the depersonalized and between the subjective and the actual.

Essentially, the most well-known experiments, analyzes and investigations within the area of ​​social psychology are the following:

1) The Bobo Doll Experience by Albert Bandura

In this research it was found that violence and aggression are discovered by imitation. This was one of many pioneering investigations in this area, and has been repeated to assess the extent to which the advertising of violent content material in the media influences the aggressive habits of viewers.

2) The Stanford Prison Experience, de Philip Zimbardo

One of the best-known and most controversial investigations concerned a train drill in which college students took over as prisoners and guards in a synthetic jail for several days. Zimbardo has shown that, in certain circumstances, people would take office for the purpose of presenting an unethical appearance. It is a basic investigation of the ease of the social environment.

3) Asch, Sherif, Milgram

Other notable experiments, such as the Solomon Asch experiment, Sherif’s cave of thieves experiment or the Milgram experiment, are also of fundamental importance in the area of social psychology.

What does social psychology look for?

Objectives of social psychology to review social relationships (Moscovici and Markova, 2006). It is argued that there are social psychological processes that differ from the psychological processes of a particular person.

Social psychology tries to know the behaviors of the teams as well as the attitudes of each individual in the direction of the approach of it to react or consider within the social environment.

In other words, social psychology investigates the habits of individuals at the group level. Try to describe and clarify human behaviors by reducing them to psychological variables. In this approach, social psychology seeks to determine theories about human behaviors that serve to predict behaviors before they occur and intervene. Therefore, when realizing which elements favor certain behaviors, intervention on these elements can change the ultimate behaviors.


Within research, there have been individuals who have left a vital mark. Some of these people are:

Muzafer Sherif – Identified for the main “Thieves’ Cave” experiment in which they divided a group of Boy Scouts into two teams to uncover biases on social teams. Due to the experiment, speculation of a sensible group battle arose.

Solomon Asch: he devoted himself to the investigation of social affection. His studies on conformity stand out, in which he used line drawings of different sizes to check how collaborators gave incorrect answers. And they did so, not because they thought the answers they gave were true, but to agree with the answers.

Kurt Lewin: He is called the founder of contemporary social psychology. He contributed to the idea of Gestalt, studied the idea of social distance and formulated the idea of sector, before which it is not possible to know human habits outside of his environment.

Ignacio Martín-Baró: in addition to being a psychologist, he was a Jesuit priest. He proposed that psychology be linked to the social and historical circumstances of the territory where it develops and, likewise, to the aspirations of the individuals who reside there. He is the creator of the social psychology of liberation.

Stanley Milgram – Performed questionable ethics experiments. One of the best identified is his experience in obedience to authority. In it, one participant used electric shocks to another in the presence of a certain authority. The experience of the small world can also be the fatherhood of him, in addition, it is often called the six levels of separation.

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